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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Where's the Social?

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86 posts found
  Jerek_

Novice Member

Joined: 5/08/04
Posts: 398

3/30/13 1:08:37 PM#61

Great article, but for me personally, I think the social issues with current MMOs aren't as simple as it makes it sound.  The MMOs where I had real friendships and felt like a part of a community were UO, Shadowbane, and SWG.  The MMOs were I had acquaintances and never felt a real connection were WoW, Rift, and SWTOR.

The first group has a few things in common.  Creating and leveling your character was a relatively minor part of the game.  It determined your playstyle and gave some personality to your character, but it wasn't the focus of the game.  They all had non instanced player owned assets that tied you to the game and server.  I never set out to make friends or be social or even to engage in group activity, I meet people while i was checking out player owned vendors, exploring, or banding together with strangers to fight back against pkers and hostile guilds.

I played the game and made friends and enemies- this is an important and totally ignored part of being social.  There were players and guilds I absolutely couldn't stand, and not because they made some faction choice at character creation.  It was much more personal than that.

In the second group of games, developing your character is the whole game, from lvl 1 to the hardest raid.  Nothing physical ties you to the world or server, your home is orgrimmar or stormwind just like the rest of your faction, nobody knows you on sight as a member of that guild from stranglethorn vale or something.  There is no drive to stick around to defend your guild or destroy your enemies because its so impersonal, and you can't ever actually win or lose. 

These are fundamental design differences that have changed everything about being social in MMOs for me more than LFG tools and saying Hi to strangers ever could.

  Jorendo

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/02/08
Posts: 234

3/30/13 2:45:07 PM#62

Well go play on RP servers. I can't judge other servers as im a RPer. Not saying all RPers are the most friendly people, far from it even. But in general there still is a lot more grouping among RPers. I still play SWToR with the same people i met almost a year ago in the guild that i joined. Met some amazing people with who i build up a great friendship. And that all started by just randomly talking with people.

 

But in general i agree with this article. Sadly i don't think anything will change. Look at the game industry at a whole. A lot of genre's have been made easy to satisfy the mainstream gamer. The biggest group of gamers and the only group of gamers publishers seem to care about (well Paradox still cares for the niche but they don't fund MMO's as far as i know). Tactical shooters like Rainbow Six...made insanely easy and full of hollywood action to please the mainstream gamer. RTS games.....all made squad based strategy games cause those work better on a console. Same is happening to the MMORPG's, they are made easyer so the mainstream gamer feels better about itself, a challange hardly excists anymore in most games, sure there are some here and there but most games don't require more then following the giant yellow arrow.

 

Let's just hope that the game industry will change again, that kickstarter produces some old school MMO's again where you need to group up, where MMORPG doesn't mean you play a singleplayer game with thousands of others at the same time. But untill then, this is what we get. Just say hi to the strangers and who know's maybe someone will say hi back.

  calranthe

Novice Member

Joined: 1/29/05
Posts: 361

3/30/13 2:58:21 PM#63

EvE is the only mmo I play that really engages you on the social side, it is still very deadly, loss costs and people group together in ways I have not seen for a long time, I now spend my time in a corp of hundreds part of an alliance of thousands and coalition of who knows how many,  made friends who I class as part of my real life and people I can count on.

 

  coldandnumb

Novice Member

Joined: 5/31/09
Posts: 90

3/30/13 5:58:26 PM#64
I couldn't have wrote it better myself you basically describe my experience in every mmo that I've played in the last 5 years. It's the main reason why I never stick to any game anymore.

  steelheartx

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/08/06
Posts: 406

3/31/13 12:50:24 AM#65

The bottomline is that there's no need to socilize with your fellow players.  Most of the older games forced players to rely upon each other to achomplish various goals in the game.  Be it raiding, grouping, or just camping a mob spawn for that rare piece of loot.

 

Now days players can solo through the game without ever having to even talk to other players at all.  So instead of having 1000s of players playing and working together, you have 1000s of soloers (no offense if you prefer to solo play) playing along side 1000s of other soloers.

 

It's actaully debateable* whether these are true MMOs at all, and future games like Star Citizen and Shroud of the Avatar support this theory with their play alone, play on your own server, or play on our server philosophy.  It's only natural that players (at least many of the older ones) who do wish to socialize find themselves migrating to multi-gaming organizations or mega guilds where they can at least get the community feel that they desperately need.

 

I still believe in the MMO industry, and still also believe that they are one of the few things that can still bring people from all walks of life together in common interest of the game that they are playing.  think about it, what other form of anything can bring together so many diverse people into one common enviornment?  Nothing that i know of.

 

Looking for a family that you can game with for life? Check out Grievance at www.grievanceguild.com !

  neve1272

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/06/10
Posts: 42

3/31/13 3:43:46 AM#66
totally feel the same these last several years
  badgerer

Novice Member

Joined: 4/13/09
Posts: 91

3/31/13 6:11:27 AM#67

I'd say that auction houses have been a far greater blow to social interaction than the tools mainly cited here like group finders.

The benefits for finding good crafters in older games - most of my experience was in Earth & Beyond - were huge, and the discussions which led to a happy transaction were full of the stuff that made the genre so worthy.

Auction houses have done away entirely with a myriad realm of social interaction. Sourcing, bargaining, reputation & pride, and a reason to meet up for something other than combat . 

The conveniences of auction houses are an absurdity in a social game. Why not let players rent bots to kill mobs while you're at it?

  s4ndm4n2006

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/22/08
Posts: 56

Sleep? Who needs slee.... zzzzzz

3/31/13 4:55:52 PM#68
I don't think the social aspect of mmos has anything to do with the way games are designed.  I think that it's the nature of people.  if you force people to group together they'll create pugs, do their thing and go if they dont' want social interaction and if they do they might make friends from groups.  It's about the people playing more than anything and it wouldn't change by game design.  People were all newer to mmos in the early days so there was more comeraderie to socialize around and now people being familiar with the games they revert back to their real ways.  If they aren't playing to socialize aint nothing in game design that's gonna make them do so.  I never have a problem meeting people and making friends and I am one that has to meet people in game because I don't have real life friends that game.  TBH if I join in on the conversation in my guild on GW2, there's plenty of socializing going on, if  I don't, then there's not.  Nothing wrong with MMOs and their design today IMO.  I think if anything the improvements far outweigh the negatives. 
  aceofmmos

Novice Member

Joined: 1/28/13
Posts: 16

3/31/13 8:26:40 PM#69
Excellent article. Unfortunately, the social aspect of MMOs has faded, and it will take some evolution in MMORPGs generally to restore it.
  Malcanis

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/17/09
Posts: 3210

"A very special kind of stupidity"

4/01/13 6:58:02 AM#70

It's worth thinking about what's required to become "friends" with another human you've never met in real life, only communicated with via text or maybe voice comms.

How does one generate that emotional linkage?

Give me liberty or give me lasers

  Malcanis

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/17/09
Posts: 3210

"A very special kind of stupidity"

4/01/13 6:59:37 AM#71
Originally posted by badgerer

I'd say that auction houses have been a far greater blow to social interaction than the tools mainly cited here like group finders.

The benefits for finding good crafters in older games - most of my experience was in Earth & Beyond - were huge, and the discussions which led to a happy transaction were full of the stuff that made the genre so worthy.

Auction houses have done away entirely with a myriad realm of social interaction. Sourcing, bargaining, reputation & pride, and a reason to meet up for something other than combat . 

The conveniences of auction houses are an absurdity in a social game. Why not let players rent bots to kill mobs while you're at it?

 

EVE has an incredibly sophisticated player market, and no lack of community. I don't think you're on the right track here.

 

Give me liberty or give me lasers

  Tkyle

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/06/06
Posts: 34

4/01/13 7:19:31 AM#72

  I feel it's a combination of game design and the people now days. I don't want to say it's the younger crowd like some but people are not the same as they once was, in game or in rl. I also think the games have just become so busy and set with the single minded idea of just getting from this quest hub to the next as fast as you can.

  Years ago the games might have been more harsh, or tough but they was more relaxed. You could have conversations with others, rp or whatever your fun was. Use Rift for example, the games are just so busy that you are more worried about watching out for this new hated phrase, Dynamic Events to sit back and enjoy conversation or the scenery of the game or god forbid, just go afk for a minute. lol

  Anyhow, I'm guessing this is the way gaming are heading for the future but if so I'm really thinking it'll be hard to keep people for more than a few months.

 

  Bossalinie

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/29/07
Posts: 629

4/01/13 7:58:39 AM#73
You can't old school methods to prevail in current games when everything has evolved around the games. Is it the games fault why we no longer have to meet in game to discuss moves/strategies? It's not the devs fault that ventrilo/team speak gave raiders/groupers the ability to remove typing downtime. It's the modernization of our internet driven ideas, and quite frankly, old school mmo concepts fail in this age. I read somewhere a person refused to use a voice program because he didn't want the voice to ruin his perception of the character. He's in for a long road, because every idea around gaming is leaving that notion in the dust.
  Vodun

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/11/05
Posts: 77

Be afraid, very afraid.

4/01/13 9:10:44 AM#74
Originally posted by Iczer

I agree fully, my enjoyment of mmo's lately has also waned largely due to friends playing other games that dont fit my taste. Sure I can still get missions or quests and run them but it all feels very empty.

Over the years I have met a lot of fun and interesting people (sme even IRL as a result) who at one point or another shared my love for the game we were playing. I even enjoyed my co-op sessions in Guild Wars 1 back in the day with random strangers. Without that social element its exactly like playing a SPOG (Single Player Offline Game).

 

My favorite MMO moment was playing GW1 faction PvP battles with a random group and we had the greatest time together. we meshed so well together that at one point we decided to play "naked" it was my greatest social moment in a game.

I believe the best online games are ones where you are "forced" to group to achieve your gaming goals. When you are forced to work as a team to overcome the mission/quest, you can then take pride in your contibution to the success of the team. Solo achievements are quick to fade but a group win is long lasting and more meaningful because it was done with other people.

See you in the world, I now play GW2 WvW mostly and will be playing Defiance starting tomorrow on Xbox.

 
  Vodun

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/11/05
Posts: 77

Be afraid, very afraid.

4/01/13 9:13:12 AM#75

My favorite MMO moment was playing GW1 faction PvP battles with a random group and we had the greatest time together. we meshed so well together that at one point we decided to play "naked" it was my greatest social moment in a game.

I believe the best online games are ones where you are "forced" to group to achieve your gaming goals. When you are forced to work as a team to overcome the mission/quest, you can then take pride in your contibution to the success of the team. Solo achievements are quick to fade but a group win is long lasting and more meaningful because it was done with other people.

See you in the world, I now play GW2 WvW mostly and will be playing Defiance starting tomorrow on Xbox.

  kostantis

Novice Member

Joined: 12/31/05
Posts: 29

4/01/13 9:13:13 AM#76

2 things:

1. The introduction of terms like "Downtime" in games where socialization was supposed to be the main attaraction. There is no downtime, only time for socializing while you are doing something else.

2. Mass market appeal and the mentality of "I want to enjoy the game my way" - i.e. MMORPGs loosing focus of what they are and going for the big bucks!. Where mmoRPGs are treated like single-player action-rush to end-don't care whether those jumping things around me are bots or players-games. Where mmoRPGs are expected to be solo-friendly/exclusive just because someone likes them that way -> they are not the same game...

But, but! you might say, what is wrong about enjoying the game my way???? Well, I answer, nothing... but of course I do also enjoy a good game of basketball where I have the ball all the time, there are no fouls, no traveling, I am in a swimming pool and using a racket to score home-runs, you know, the way basketball is played.

THAT is the problem: people wanting their own rules like spoiled children and an industry willing to give it to them just so they can get their (parents') money. If you notice this also in other genres in the gaming industry... you are right (see convergeance and combined/simplified gameplay in FPSs, spRPGs etc.).

  Velocinox

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/15/06
Posts: 663

4/01/13 5:43:07 PM#77

"Oh sure some of them might have been older than my great grandpappy and online for "nefarious" purposes"

 

Right, because old people don't play video games.

This is no different than racism or sexism... and you know what word that is? Well I can't say it about Age discrimination or the Moderator will edit my post. Sound fair to you?

'Sandbox MMO' is a PTSD trigger word for anyone who has the experience to know that anonymous players invariably use a 'sandbox' in the same manner a housecat does.


No game is more fun than the one you can't play, and no game is more boring than the one you've become familiar with.


How to become a millionaire:
Start with a billion dollars and make an MMO.

  Alverant

Elite Member

Joined: 3/12/07
Posts: 346

4/01/13 8:36:50 PM#78

I wonder if it's the tone of the game itself that influences the community. In City of Heroes the players were ... well heroes doing good deeds and all that. Compare that to the FRPGs where the goal is to invade a creatures home and kill everything. When you play a hero, there's a tendency to act heroic and that includes helping each other.

The game also made it hard for some classes to solo. Those classes worked well with others so even having two people team up would change an impossible mission to doable. Nowadays it seems anyone can solo so there's less of a need to be social. It's like MMORPGs are turning into shared worlds where there are other players if you need them and help the ingame economy work. People can play for the company and not to chat and we're poorer for it.

  Malcanis

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/17/09
Posts: 3210

"A very special kind of stupidity"

4/02/13 4:41:35 AM#79

Games which require - or at least strongly reward - inter-player organisation will see communities develop. Convenience-focused gameplay will not provide a good medium for communities to grow in.

The obvious example here is EVE: In 0.0, it is absolutely necessary to be in an organised group, and long-lasting, vigorous communities are the norm. In hi-sec, there is no real need to interact directly with other players for the huge majority of activities, and vigorous communities are the exception. And those exceptions are ALL based around activities that DO reward organisation, like Incursions.

Give me liberty or give me lasers

  taurak

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/01/04
Posts: 174

4/02/13 5:46:15 AM#80

I agree with the post 100%.

The MMORPG has been turned into a SORPG.

I have very high hopes that Camelot Unchained will give some rebirth to this genre that WoW has maimed, and created "spoiled whiney brats" as the new gaming community.

In the original Everquest, getting your corpse back was a major task sometimes. But nobody ever cried about it, and usually in places like plane of fear, the big guild on the server would come to help you out if you wiped and got stuck.

 

 

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